By Carl Stagner
One of the great analogies of our faith compares Jesus to a lighthouse. As the church is called to be Jesus to the world, so churches also become lighthouses. From Amsterdam to Zaire, local churches serve as lighthouses for lives sailing through the darkness. The Church of God congregation in DeLand, Florida, bears the name Lighthouse, and its especially bright light beams not only through the community but also to points around the world.
To date, The Lighthouse Church has served some 55,000 meals through Collins’ Cupboard. Those who benefit from the food pantry express their appreciation time and time again for the help in getting them back on their feet. One testimony tells of being able to afford much-needed medicine because the pantry was there. Through the years, Collins’ Cupboard has helped satisfy more than physical hunger. Spiritual breakthroughs and healing have taken place through this ministry. In one particular instance, church volunteers prayed with a pantry visitor who had cancer. Upon return to the doctor, this cancer patient was found to be cancer free.
“The motivating force for all of this is the love of God,” explains Paul Bryan, pastor of The Lighthouse Church. “We are a congregation committed to having passion for God and compassion for people. How can we say we love God, whom we cannot see, if we do not love people who we can see?”
Another tangible expression of God’s love for people is the annual Christmas dinner and family sponsorship event. The Lighthouse Church teams up with a local school to find families that would truly benefit from a Christmas meal and gifts. Many in the church sponsor families so that they might have presents for the children. Through these generous acts of kindness, volunteers take advantage of opportunities to make personal connections with an eternal impact.
Called to be both salt and light, believers at The Lighthouse Church have sought transformation wholeheartedly. Blessed by the hand of God, these followers of Christ have also been able to shine their light into faraway lands, such as Nicaragua and India. In 1989, then-pastor Dave Walker led the church to found the Lighthouse Christian Children’s Home for orphans in Salur, India. In the fall of 2014, Dave and Paul traveled to India to celebrate twenty-five years of ministry there. Paul recalls some of the incredible testimonies of God’s work through the home. “I experienced firsthand the impact we have had as a church by listening to the former students who were able to be educated and go on to college because of our support,” Paul says. “They wept as they told how their life had been transformed because we gave and built dorms for them. One young lady went on to be a national badminton player. Another young man went on to become the most successful person in his village because he got a degree and was a public school teacher. Another young man went on to become the pastor and evangelize the village where we rescued him from. We currently have seventy-two kids wholly supported by our church. Regular visits there and reports back like these have inspired our congregants to sacrifice and help.”
The Lighthouse Church enjoys a rich history of local, regional, and global mission work. In spite of a blessed heritage, they’re not spending their time shining their light on the pages of the past. Ready to pierce even more darkness in Florida and beyond, they’ve focused their light on 2015.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.